While students get plenty of face time with their professors during lectures, they rarely see the scholarly work their instructors do outside the classroom.

According to the College's website, "Faculty members are also expected to be involved in their field outside the College, making scholarly, artistic or other contributions which are recognized by the larger professional community."

English Professor Aaron Kitch published his first book, "Political Economy and the States of Literature in Early Modern England," in August 2009.

The book discusses how trade and the perception of trade affected literature in England between 1580 and 1630.

English Professor David Collings recently published his second book, "Monstrous Society: Reciprocity, Discipline, and the Political Uncanny, c. 1780-1848."

The book considers English representations of reciprocity around the turn of the 19th century.

He is also in the process of working on a book about climate change.

History and Environmental Studies Professor Matthew Klingle published "Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle" in 2007.

The book explores the relationship between environmental change and social inequality, examining how they are intertwined.

Gender and Women's Studies Professor Jennifer Scanlon published "Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown" in 2009.

The book is a biography of Helen Gurley Brown, the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine from 1965-1997, and portrays Brown as an early second-wave feminist.

Motivations and ideas

Klingle's book "Emerald City" was derived from his dissertation, but he said that it was "significantly revised."

"I wanted the book to speak to a lot of people, make people think, and perhaps even take some people to task," he said.

However, the decision to publish a book was also motivated by his career.

"For tenure at Bowdoin...in the history department, a book is what is expected," Klingle added.

Some of the ideas for his next book on the environmental history of diabetes came from students.

He is currently teaching a class that touches on the subject and said it may have an effect on his book.

"My teaching can definitely shape and influence my writing," Klingle said.

Collings is also teaching a seminar that focuses on his ideas for his next book, and Kitch will teach one next semester.

"The opportunity to have a seminar on the material that I'll actually be writing about...is a golden opportunity," Kitch said.


Collings did most of his research using the resources of the Bowdoin library and interlibrary loan.

Kitch, Klingle and Scanlon, on the other hand, did the majority of their research in archives.

Kitch primarily used the archives of the Folger, British and Huntington libraries, and described the process as "about one-third searching, one-third analyzing, and one-third combining materials."

Klingle's research took him across the country, though his book was about Seattle. He also traveled to Minneanapolis-St. Paul, Washington, D.C., Brookline and Boston to do research.

Scanlon did most of her research at Smith College, which had 47 boxes of Brown's published and unpublished work, and she spent two months examining Brown's papers full-time.

The writing process

The professors did some of their research while teaching or during breaks, but all of them took a sabbatical to focus on their writing.

"It is critical to have the time to regenerate and reflect, which is hard to do [while teaching]...[that] is why sabbatical leaves are critical," Klingle said.

During his sabbatical, Klingle worked with an editor and "tore apart" his dissertation.

By the time the book was published, he had been through seven to 10 drafts of the book, including the dissertation process.

"I had an office in Dudley Coe that I kept secret...and I wrote anywhere from four to eight hours per day," Klingle said. "Some days I would be lucky to get a paragraph, some days I would write pages."

Klingle plans to take another sabbatical in two years to do research for his next book. He thinks will take longer because he believes that a second book should be more ambitious.

"Say what you will about tenure," Klingle said, "but it allows you courage and space to pursue ideas."

Scanlon spent the summer months of her sabbatical finishing her research at Smith College with the Helen Gurley Brown collection.

She spent the rest of her sabbatical writing the book, but also spent some of the time reading secondary documents.

Like Klingle, she also had a separate office, though hers was in Adams Hall.

"I enjoyed the solitary nature of it, enjoyed the singular focus," Scanlon said.

Kitch spent two years writing his book. He did some of the writing over the summer and during breaks, but tackled the majority of the book over his sabbatical.

He took his sabbatical in 2006-2007 and said that he spent most of his time between May and August writing.

He said he thinks that he will need another sabbatical to finish his next book, though he has no concrete plans to take one yet.

Collings, on the other hand, is farther along in the process with his next book on climate change.

"I have notebooks full of ideas for it," Collings said, "but haven't begun to put it in final form"

Having taken a sabbatical in 2002-2003, he plans to take another sabbatical next year.

After working on other projects throughout the summer, he hopes to start writing his book on climate change in September and finish it by March.

"Once I sit down to write a book, I can usually write it in six to seven months," he said, "but this is not a scholarly book, so I don't really know."

In the late spring, he said he hopes to either return to his other book, write articles, or do research.

The publishing process

In many cases, the choices of the publisher and the way that the book is published reflect the author's intent and desired audience for the book.

Klingle chose Yale University Press because Yale also offered him an academic trade contract, which meant that the book would be reasonably priced, and it would be heavily marketed to a broader audience than academics.

The book came out in 2007 and went to paperback in 2008, which Klingle said was faster than normal.

Scanlon used Oxford University Press for two primary reasons. The first, she said, was to "make my academic peers happy."

"Going with Oxford, people could not take issue with that as a publication choice," she said.

She also wanted to reach a wider audience with the book.

"I felt that the book had something to offer readers outside of academia, so I sought a trade contract with Oxford in order to reach both academic and trade audiences."

Penguin bought the rights to the paperback, which will come out this summer.

Kitch published with Ashgate Publishing and said that his book was intended primarily for "graduate students and faculty in renaissance English."

Because it was an academic book, it was highly priced (around $100) and sold primarily to libraries.

Reception and reviews

Just this past year, the Department of English has begun to host receptions for faculty who have published books.

The first was in the fall for Collings, and the second was for Kitch this spring.

"The process of writing is long, lonely and isolating at times, and private," said Kitch. "The party helps highlight faculty scholarly activity, something you don't necessarily see in the classroom."

Klingle agreed that the receptions could be very valuable to both the authors and the students.

"It's a great idea," he said, "and the English department has been a trailblazer. It helps to demystify the publishing process and celebrate the achievement."

After an academic book is published, it can take one to four years for criticisms to appear, and as of yet, neither Collings' nor Kitch's book has been reviewed.

Both expect reviews to appear this coming year in academic journals.

Klingle's book, "Emerald City", has been reviewed and won the Ray Allen Billington Prize in 2009.

The prize is awarded by the Organization of American Historians biennially for the best book in American Frontier History.

"It's an intimidating award to get," Klingle said, "because the people who have won it are some pretty big company. Even to be considered for it was an honor, so I was very lucky."

While Scanlon's book is also too recent for academic reviews to be published yet, it has been reviewed in the New York Times, the New Yorker and most major newspapers.

It was also reviewed internationally.

The rights for the book have also been bought to make a television show, and said that it is being talked about as a "cross between Mad Men and Sex in the City."

However, Scanlon warned that it is still very early in the process.

"There is a contract, but there are a lot of steps between buying the rights and mounting a television show," she said.